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Top Childcare Centers and Preschools in Portland

Published Jun 13, 2019 | Updated Feb 19, 2020

Are you looking for childcare or a preschool for your young one? We've compiled a list of some of the best childcare and preschool providers in the Portland area. 

Early childhood education is a formative period in children's cognitive and social development. When it comes to finding the right program for your child, it's important that you find a place that has a positive and enriching learning environment, fits with your schedule, and has a curriculum that aligns with the values that you want your child to learn. All parents want their children to have the best education, and we're here to help. We've listed and described our top childcare and preschool picks in the greater Portland area. 

Vermont Hills Family Life Center

Vermont Hills Family Life Center is a nonprofit childcare provider that offers Preschool and School Age programs at 20 schools sites around Portland. VHFLC provides Early Childhood Education, after school care, and summer camps and accommodates children of all developmental stages. 

VHFLC teachers meet each week to plan fun and engaging curricula, which focus on character building, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills. They also organize activities that emphasize creative expression and physical health. 

Their Early Childhood Education curriculum is designed to enhance children's social and emotional development, physical development, and language development. Lesson plans are based on a monthly theme and incorporate indoor and outdoor activities and games. Each day, children have the option of trying activities that include creative art expression, drama and imaginative play, music and movement, and literacy and story time.

Kids Community Learning Center

Located in Northwest Portland, KCLC is a before and after-school program that serves children in grades K-5 from the Metropolitan Learning Center, the Emerson School, and Chapman Elementary. Their mission is to provide a nurturing environment for kids through creative exploration, meaningful relationships, and fun. 

KCLC programs include academic time, creative projects, community involvement, group games, and more. Their Before School Program opens at 7am every morning, and their After School Program is open everyday after school until 6pm. 

Their teacher-to-child ratio is 1:10 or less. All of their teachers are highly qualified and compassionate, have a natural ability to work with children, and undergo regular training. 


Wouldn't it be nice if there was a childcare center that fit your schedule exactly? That's what WeVillage does! WeVillage offers drop-in daily and hourly childcare in Portland's Peal District and by the Lloyd Center NE Portland.

Both of their Portland locations are modern and provide a safe and energizing learning space for kids. They primarily serve children from the ages of 6 weeks to 6 years but offer childcare to children up to 12-years-old during school breaks and no school days. If you need an hour or two to get some shopping done or have an important meeting to go to, you should schedule to drop your kid off at WeVillage.

WeVillage also offers infant and toddler care, preschool, after school care, and school break camps. Their preschool curriculum is STEAM based, and students ages 3 to 5 learn through hands-on experiences and activities. Their after school program goes from 2:30 to 6:30pm. Children will get their homework done and still have lots of time to participate in art projects and listen to guest readers and storytellers.

The TEK Center

The TEK Center hosts after school care for children in grades K-6 in their 7,800 square foot building. Kids will learn technology, coding, and design. They have a state-of-the-art computer lab, 3D printers, a vinyl plotter, a deconstruction zone, a play area, and a hang out reading area. 

After school each day, students will have snack time, do their homework, participate in a daily lesson or project, and then have time to play until they are picked up. The types of lessons you can expect your child to be part of include building computers, design and 3D printing, graphics and web design, computer networking, and more. 

Peninsula Children's Learning Center

This is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to ensuring that families of all income levels have access to quality child care and education. They have a sliding scale fee system so families can pay what they can afford. Each year, Peninsula awards over $275,000 to families.

They provide Early Childhood Education (ECE) and School Age Before and After School programs in North/Northeast Portland. Peninsula's ECE program is based on the The Creative Curriculum, a nationally recognized framework that promotes problem-solving, critical thinking, and social-emotional development. All of their teachers have master's or bachelor's degrees in education, are trained in early childhood care and education, and have at least two years of experience. 

For their School Age Programs, Peninsula partners with Sabin Elementary School, Boise-Eliot/Humboldt Elementary School, and Martin Luther King Jr School. They provide before and after school care at these three schools on a daily or drop-in basis.

The International School

The International School (TIS) is a Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese language immersion school. In their Early Childhood Education program, children 3-5 years-old are immersed in one of these three languages. Students spend approximately 80% of their day immersed in their target language.

TIS's Early Childhood Education program is based on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). PreK and LowK students study four transdisciplinary themes each year. Students will take lessons in art, music, and PE and also learn through TIS's four-language Library Media Center. 

All of TIS's teachers are native speakers of one of their immersion languages, have bachelor's degrees, and have years of experience in early childhood education. 

Portland Jewish Academy

Portland Jewish Academy is an inclusive school that is founded on Jewish traditions and values. They have schooling and programs for toddlers to middle schoolers.

Their Early Childhood program is welcoming and inclusive and allows children to learn based on their own unique learning styles. Through meaningful play and exploration, children learn cognitive skills, language and literacy, math and science topics, Hebrew language, and Jewish life topics. At PJA, children are viewed as individuals who contribute to their community. 

PJA's Early Childhood curriculum is enhanced by monthly Kabbalat Shabbat, dramatic play, community partnership and field trips, Mitzvot, block play and building, and more. 

Creative Children's Center

Creative Children's Center (CCC) is a private school welcoming kids ages 2 to 3rd grade. Their curriculum is based on a the Reggio Approach, which puts emphasis on interactions with the community, exploring the natural environment, and collaboration by teachers. CCC offers half and full day classes.

For kids not quite old enough for grade school, CCC has a Play Pals programs for two-and-three-year-olds and Preschool program for three-to-five-year-olds. Play Pals is held two days a week and introduces young learners to working with others. Kids will participate in a daily circle time, art projects, sensory play, block play, pretend play, and outside exploration. Play Pals gives young kinds the confidence to enter preschool.

Their Preschool classrooms are multi-age, and students are introduced to a number of projects that introduce them to academic learning. Each day, children have the time to explore and work on activities that interests them. CCC preschool program has 2 to 5 day and half and full day options available. 

Does your child attend one of the preschool or childcare programs listed above? Or does her or she attend another early education provider that you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments section below! And if you're still looking for other preschool or childcare providers, search for more under our "Education" tab. 

Sarah Lindquist
By Sarah Lindquist
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